Tractored Out

Image and caption: Native Texas tenant farmer. Near Goodliet, Texas. Aged seventy; seventeen years on the same farm. Is to be “tractored out” at the end of 1938. One son has been tractored out and has been on WPA (Work Projects Administration) for two years. Another son was tractored out in 1937. Has moved to town and remains temporarily off relief by selling his livestock. “What are my boys going to do? It’s not a question of what they’re going to do. It’s a question of what they’re going to have to do. They’re not any up there in Congress but what are big landowners and they’re going to see that the program is in their interest. As long as the government is paying the landowner more to let the land out than they make by renting it, they won’t rent it.”, Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress), LC-USF34- 018175-E

Well they tractored us out, with no ceremony
Leaving us on our own with little to show
For 20 long years of counting each penny—
Just the second part’s true, sir, of “easy come, easy go”
My daddy worked hard—but then he died early
Of the fruits of his labor, he enjoyed next to none
Now with each passing day, my I’m growing more weary
We’ll see if it’s destined: “like father, like son”
“For better or worse,” we vowed our wedding day–
To weather together storms tomorrow might bring
She ain’t said one unkind word—and she’s no mind to stray–
But that look in her eyes, sir—by god does it sting
What luck I had once has been blowed away—
Baked into dust by a merciless sun
What the good lord may give, he might then take away:
I was born to a poor man, I guess I’ll leave this world one